The 1st Brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah, commanded by Brigadier-General Thomas J. Jackson, earned their legendary nickname at First manassas on 21st July 1861. Arriving on the battlefield in time to stem the Federal tide sweeping back the confederate left flank, they gained immortality when General Barnard E. Bee, declared: "Look at Jackson’s Brigade! It stands there like a stone wall!”
Many civil war regiments and the various companies they comprised, tended to be made up of men from the same geographical area or who shared a commom heritage. The Liberty hall Volunteers, Co. I, 4th Virginia Infantry, were largely composed of students at Washington College in Lexington. From 1776 – 1798 it was known as the Liberty Hall Academy. These young men obviously proud of their school became known as the Liberty Hall Volunteers, and had already been receiving military training from cadets of the neighbouring Virginia Military Institute.
By the time they were mustered into Confederate service on June 2nd 1861, to serve for a period of one year, the men of the Washington College were considered a well-drilled command. The young men however, were to learn quickly that cannonballs and bullets had no respect for academic achievement. At the battle of First Manassas six of the company were killed or severely wounded.
The volunteers wore collarless light blue grey hunting shirts, with dark blue trim, on top of white cotton shirts with collars showing. Trousers were grey with a dark blue stripe.
Members of this company also provided themselves with short bowie knives.
It was shortly before noon when Jackson arrived at the summit of Henry Hill with his 2,000 Virginians. He rapidly grasped the situation and organized his men into a superb defensive position, which the Northern regiments were unable to break down, and in the end were to wear themselves out in their repeated attempts.
On April 14th 1862, Company I was reorganized . Forty Nine men from the militia and another eleven transfers from other units were incorporated into the company, which meant it lost much of its original academic flavour.
The 4th Virginia served with the Army of Northern Virginia until the end of the war. It was organized along with the 2nd, 5th, 27th and 33rd Virginia Regiments to make up the famous Stonewall Brigade.